The year is 2008 and we are in Accra the capital of Ghana. In their large family home, Tina and Vivian Appiah are dancing to Jamaican music. Behind them is a huge portrait of their elder brother, Stephen Appiah, a professional footballer, who is now a millionaire five times over and Ghana’s national captain. Stephen has played for both Juventus and Fenerbahce and he recently bought his sisters a beauty parlour. Vivian and Tina have grown tired of working for a living and so they pay someone to run it for them. Their days are spent at leisure, watching television, dancing and ordering pizza. Everyone wants our life,’ Vivian says. ‘The local women want success for their sons or brothers so they can have this. Were we sad when Stephen left us for the West? Sad? No, we were happy. Our mother had prayed to God for his success. When Stephen was a young boy he was very good at football and we all wanted to help him. My mother sold our television to pay for his boots, and the other children didn’t complain because they wanted to help him too. We helped him – so now he can help us.’
Consumerism is a popular and vibrant religion. It disciples people with breathtaking ease. Vivian and Tina are followers of the consumerist way of life. Notice how they spend their days. They dance, they watch television and they order in pizza. Notice that work is conspicuous by its absence. This is typical of many forms of consumerism. Work is perceived as a necessary evil. You do it if you have to. You don’t do it if you are loaded. Idle loafing then becomes a way of life.